Multifamily + Banking

market research

22% of American adults (63 millions) are unbanked or underbanked.

6% are unbanked (17 million); 16% are underbanked (46 million).


In the multifamily community, the number of unbanked and underbanked residents increases as the median resnt decreases. Though this group is technically a statistical outlier, they are an entry-pint consumer for workforce and market-rate housing. Lack of access to baking services can prevent people from renting apartments, buying a home, obtaining a car loan, or building credit. A loop that many economists have dedicated resources to stufdying such as Sandra L, Barnes “The Cost of Being Poor”.

Multifamily Building

This caused us to ask: why are these residents unbanked/underbanked? And what is the relationship between banking and multifamily real estate? E.g. How does banking impact renters, multifamily real estate owners, investors, and operators?

Quext Technology in partnership with multifamily consulting firm Enoch & Co and ethnographic research company Others Unlimited, set out on a journey to gain answers to these question and find possible solutions.

We spoke with renters, nationwide, to help us understand their banking relationship. 

Because of the focus on unbanked and underbanked communities, se selected residents to interview with an average rent range to $1262.63/month, 21% lower than the national average of $1599/month in June 2021 and 38% lower than the national average of $2045/month in June 2022 (per Dwellsy July 2022).

It was no surprise that the overwhelming theme was trust.

Residents are wary of the financial industry and how it impacts their ability to secure housing. They are already living with impermanence because a rental is a temporary housing situation that someone else controls. Almost all residents, no matter their financial positions, dream of owning their own home. Family drives everything that they do. They are confident in financial knowledge they have gained on their own or through connections they trust, rather than through perceived authority. 

Overwhelmingly, we learned that resident are resilient, self-reliant community members with big dream, and even bigger hearts.

We also spoke with owners and operators.

In the second research phase, we spoke with executives at multifamily investment firms, development companies, third-party property management companies, owner-operators, government offices, and technology firms to understand their perspectives on residents’ banking resources and multifamily real estate.

Multifamily operators understand how banking and credit reporting impact the applications process and that it can be a barrier to entry for renters. Operations highly prioritize the efficient of online payments. Investors place less importance on rent payment efficiency. Third-party operators are most concerned with what their clients will want. Segmented Owner/Third-Party Operators are reluctant to apply a rent-payment solution that would reduce late fee income, wherein the developers and progressive ESG-focused investment management firms stopped underwriting late fee income all together.

Out of the groups interviewed, it was reported that an average of 24% of residents pay with paper checks, cashier’s checks, or money orders; compared with an average of 15% in the middle market assets. This number increases as the average rent of a property decreases.

Trust is also important to multifamily professionals.

Compared to approximately 50% of residents interviewed who reported a positive relationship with their landlord, almost every owner/operator believes their residents do not trust them.

In order to support renters in multifamily we can do a number of things today to start building trust with residents. First, be human. Lead with empathy and understanding. Second, provide clear and transparent application guidelines and processes with peer-level support in their native language. Third, look critically at our relationship with banking, credit scoring, and technology, with an eye towards reducing friction.

Those 22 million Americans who are unbanked or underbanked are your renters and they need support.